A dream scenario for the Patriots would be for everyone to get magically healthy. Another would be for them to swing a trade that solves their injury woes. Both scenarios might be equally improbable.
In just a matter of weeks, the Patriots have gone from a sure-thing Super Bowl champion to a team that can only hope it is healthy enough in the coming months to actually achieve that goal.
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No position is as vulnerable as wide receiver, which might currently have only one totally healthy player in Brandin Cooks. Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett were the only other two receivers to dress Sunday, but both had injury scares against the Saints.
With Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell both on injured reserve and Danny Amendola recovering from head and knee injuries, an initially loaded wide receiver group could use reinforcements.
The good news: The Patriots like making in-season trades. The bad news: This isn’t really the time of year for that.
This season saw a major uptick in trades just before Week 1. The Patriots were plenty busy there, trading Jacoby Brissett for Dorsett and also making deals for Cassius Marsh and Johnson Bademosi.
Yet after Week 1 is a different story. There hasn’t been a trade in the NFL since the season started, and last year there wasn’t an in-season trade made until Week 7, when the Packers picked up Knile Davis from the Chiefs. The Pats made trades last season (getting Kyle Van Noy, shipping A.J. Derby and Jamie Collins out), but the first one of those didn’t come until Week 8.
History says mid-to-late September is not a common time to actually solve problems via trade. To find a major deal, you’d have to go back to 2013, when the Colts foolishly gave the Browns a first-round pick for Trent Richardson. The Pats traded Randy Moss for a third-round pick in Week 5 of 2010.
In 2015, there were seven trades made between the start of the season and the end of September. There weren’t any the year before.
It makes sense why such deals usually don’t happen. It’s way too early for teams to throw in the towel. Take the Cardinals, for instance. They have not looked good through two games and are missing one of the best running backs in the league, but it would be crazy for them to pull the plug and trade off parts.
So maybe some receiver can join the likes of Van Noy and Akeem Ayers as in-season trade additions that proved to fill a need. Week 3 might still be a little early for that, though.